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Interview With Pamela Gwyn Kripke, Author Of And Then You Apply Ice

Interview With Pamela Gwyn Kripke, Author Of And Then You Apply Ice

A captivating look at managing transgression, And Then You Apply Ice: Stories is an honest, funny and astute portrayal of the female experience.  Author Pamela Gwyn Kripke talks to Book Glow about her new story collection.

Describe the book in one sentence.

A story collection that peeks into the inner lives of women and girls who are exploring their boundaries in the world.

What led you to write it?

Several of the stories were published in literary magazines and received well, and when I looked at them as a group, I saw that they shared certain themes–transgression, love and the notion of it, the struggle to understand others and ourselves, self-advocacy, resilience. So, I thought to expand on the published pieces and create a collection, with some recurring characters, that would explore the female experience as it relates to these ideas. I wanted to put the characters in some oddball, but realistic, situations that would reveal the serious ideas in a playful and approachable way.

How long did it take to write?

I’d say I completed most of the stories in about a year or so.

Do you prefer writing in one genre over another?

As a journalist, my instinct is to write what I see. My (nonfiction) essays, which have been published widely in newspapers and magazines for many years, have been integral to my writing career. What happens with fiction is that I typically begin with something that is real, that I’ve witnessed or felt, and then create ways to change it into something imagined.

Where do you write?

I’ve written in all sorts of places—moving vehicles like trains and buses, parks, wherever an idea hits me. I always carry a small notebook in my bag. Mostly, now, I write at home in my kitchen, or at my desk or on the balcony. And I work out certain scenes in my head while walking my dog, Charlie, who is quite famous, having been the subject of more than a few essays.

Is there any one thing that especially frustrates you about the writing process?

No. I love the writing process.

Any advice for novice writers?

I was just asked this question by a Drexel University Publishing Group journal, and I suggested the following about specificity, which can prompt plot or enhance it: “Get in the habit of looking at the world around you, and write down what you see. It could be a curtain flying out of a window flapping, or it could be a dog with a funny limp. Overhear what other people are saying. Eavesdrop and snoop. When you go to someone’s house, open up the drawers. Stories are about people and what they do—so listen to how they sound, watch their faces and their bodies. Look for what’s not obvious, and look at their socks, their belts, and the next guy’s shopping cart. Look where you’re not supposed to look, and you’ll get some good material.”

Related: Read An Excerpt from And Then You Apply Ice: Stories by Pamela Gwyn Kripke

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